Howdy and welcome to Texas. This is the enchanted land of yesteryear, cowboys, ranches and cactus. It is also the land of a bustling economy and technology.
Dateline July 5th, 2015 – San Antonio, TX: Five Spanish colonial missions designated as World Heritage Sites by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
While Surpass Magazine does not hold the political arm of the United Nations (UN) in much esteem, this decision is still of great significance for the United States, Texas and San Antonio. This world recognition of the significant historical and cultural contributions of these five missions will bring international tourism and additional economic growth for the San Antonio area. Get ready San Antonio. This will add to your population and supporting businesses.
Nestled in the heart of San Antonio are five Spanish missions built in the early 1700s. These missions were designed and built to have the look and feel of Spanish churches back in Spain. However, the contribution of these missions goes far beyond spreading the gospel of Catholicism to this part of the new world. Rather they introduced a whole new way of life to the area and shaped the economy of most of the southwest with influences even into the modern day.
Shortly following the expedition of Christopher Columbus discovering the outlying islands of North America in 1492, the Spanish monarchy began sending voyages of exploration and conquer to the rest of the Americas. The conquistadors defeated the Aztec empire in what is now called Mexico between the years 1519 and 1521. Their methods were in retrospect considered brutal including enslavement and totalitarianism. This grab for territory expanded into Peru with the defeat of the Inca and culminated with Spanish control of much of what is now the Western United States.
Mexico began its cry for independence from Spain in 1810 when Father Miguel Hidalgo issued his “Cry for Dolores” encouraging Mexican rebellion against Spain. This struggle continued until 1821. The regional turmoil continued throughout the early 19th century and in 1835 the Mexican province of Texas began its bid for independence with its 6 month long revolution. The battle of the Alamo (one of the five missions) occurred as part of this rebellion in March of 1836 with about 200-250 men fighting for Texas under Jim Bowie (inventor of the Bowie knife and American pioneer) and Lt. Col. William Travis (also attended by US Congressman Davy Crockett of Tennessee) against Mexican General Santa Anna’s army of 6000 men. It was a disastrous defeat for the Texans as virtually all of them died in the effort of the battle. (Seven survivors were executed by Santa Anna including reportedly Davy Crockett). However, this sacrifice served as an inspiration for remaining Texas forces under Sam Houston who defeated the Mexican army the next month while charging and crying “Remember the Alamo”.
Surprisingly to most, the story of oppression, adventure and war is only a small part of the significance in this case. Unlike most missions of the Spanish conquest and the communities that developed around them, oppression of the native population was not an issue with the San Antonio missions……
There is much more to this story. Read the rest in our next issue of Surpass Magazine.